Exposure to terrorism and birthweight outcomes in Nigeria

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Agriculture


Using readily available vitality and GPS data from the Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey, in conjunction with terrorism data from the open sourced Global Terrorism Database, I estimate the effect of in-utero exposure to terrorism within three kilometers of individuals in Nigeria on the likelihood of an infant to be born low-birthweight. Previous economic studies have explored the similar impacts to birthweight from arguably exogenous violent shocks to fetuses in-utero, however, no previous study has yet performed such an analysis of in-utero violence exposure within such a defined geographic area. I claim that previous studies' inability to perform their analysis on a smaller geographic scale has likely underestimated the effects of in-utero violence exposure. Additionally, I exploit detailed information on each terrorism event to address varying degrees of violence severity. I find that exposure to a Boko Haram civilian targeted terrorism related fatality, anywhere within Nigeria and within three kilometers of an individual, as well as within the first trimester of pregnancy, is associated with an approximate 3.2 percentage point increase in the likelihood that a child is born less than or equal to 2500 grams. There is also evidence to suggest that exposure to terrorist events greater than three kilometers away and outside of the first trimester increase the likelihood of an infant being born low birthweight as well.




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